Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Random House
Twins Sophie and Josh Newman just moved to San Francisco while their parents are in Utah digging up artifacts. Their coffee shop and bookstore jobs are right across the street from each other. One day at the bookstore Josh smells rotten eggs and mint, only to find out that it's the smell of distinct magic. Dr. John Dee, smelling of rotten eggs, has come looking for a book written by Abraham the Mage. And it turns out that Nick Flemming, Josh’s boss, smells like mint. The two battle and Dee steals the book, but Nick saves two very important pages and his wife Perry. The Flemmings, Josh, and Sophie must leave the city to find an old magical creature called an Elder. Nick is actually Nicholas Flamel, a famous alchemist that supposedly died in 1418. Nicholas and his wife have been using the Book to become immortal. The twins have magic as well and they must awaken their power in order to stop Dee and the Dark Elders he works for. Flamel takes them to a 2,000 year old Elder named Scathach. She helps them travel to one of the oldest Elders named Hekate who can awaken the twins powers. As Hekate awakens Sophie's powers, Dee and the Dark Elders attack. Flamel, Scathach, and the twins get away but Hekate is killed. The small band travel to Ojai to find a way to awaken Josh's powers. Dee tracks them down and almost catches them. But magical portals that are connected to a mirror in Paris, France allows the group to escape, but still on the run from Dee and the Dark Elders.
Michael Scott brings to life a great story of history and myth all wrapped in one. His description of the landscapes are amazing. You are transported to San Francisco with Sophie and Josh and can feel all the energy and excitement of a big city. The way he describes the danger Flamel and his group is realistic and gripping. You never know when Dee will show up with some other magical foe. The author also describes each mythical creature in great detail that elicits a true sense of terror. You can see the danger of being close to these beings whether they be were-boars or vampires, or even a goddess from ancient Egypt. He brings in so much detail that you are in the action running for your life, fighting, and being terrified of everything happening around you. Scott has definitely done his research. Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel were real people who gained fame through their association with creating a philosopher's stone and achieving immortality. Dr. John Dee was real as well. Scott brings in small facts about these people that are true, not just fictionalized material to make the story more exciting. A weakness to the book is that the events in The Alchemyst take place in just two days. With so much occurring, it is easy to get lost in the timeline and the events taking place. However, this book is definitely one for the readers who love adventure and mystery.
*Contains moderate violence.